Confederate would have explored an alternate history in which the American Civil War ended with no clear victory by either side. As such, the Confederate States of America would have remained an independent nation, and the brutal and despicable institution of slavery would have remained legal, surviving into the modern day.
The series would have followed events leading up to another Civil War, and while this all sounds intriguing in a Man in the High Castle sort of way, it’s safe to say that the series might have provoked discussion of a decidedly unhealthy type in an America in which race is still a contentious topic, the Confederate battle flag is still a persistent symbol of division, and white nationalist groups have made a troubling resurgence. One could also make the case that Benioff and Weiss — who, the last time we checked, were a couple of staggeringly rich white guys — might have done well to allow this particular type of story to be told by another creator, perhaps one of color.
The series’ announcement was met by a storm of outrage on social media, expressing just those points in far less diplomatic terms than we just did. A grassroots movement formed on Twitter which aimed to torpedo the series, and the backlash reached the mainstream in no time flat. Summing up the feelings of those less than enamored with the idea of exploring how slavery would look in modern times, MSNBC analyst Joy Reid tweeted, “[Confederate] plays to a rather concrete American fantasy: slavery that never ends, becoming a permanent state for black people. Repugnant.”